This seminal study of Giuseppe Verdi's German-language reception provides important new perspectives on German musical culture and nationalism from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Kreuzer argues that the concept of Germany's musical supremacy, so dear to its nationalist cause, was continually challenged by the popularity of Italian opera, a genre increasingly epitomised by Verdi. The book traces the many facets of this Italian-German opposition in the context of intense historical developments from German unification in 1871 to the end of World War II and beyond. Drawing on an exceptionally broad range of sources, Kreuzer explores the construction of visual and biographical images of Verdi; the marketing, interpretation and adaptation of individual works; regional, social and religious undercurrents in German musical life; and overt political appropriations. Suppressed, manipulated and, not least, guiltily enjoyed, Verdi emerges as a powerful influence on German intellectuals' ideas about their collective identity and Germany's paradigmatic musical Other.
• Presents a fresh view on German musical culture by exploring a fundamental yet previously neglected side of German musical life - its links with nationalism and music historiography • Engages a wide field of cultural developments by relating musical reception to a broad compass of aspects of modern life, from literature and visual media to politics, economics, marketing and religion • Places music firmly within a larger historical context
Preface; 1. Introduction: Italian opera and German historiography; 2. Verdi's Requiem and the anxious young Kaiserreich; 3. Maestro to Meister: Verdi purified; 4. The 'Verdi renaissance'; 5. Verdi in the Third Reich; 6. Epilogue: post-war Verdi; Appendix 1. Verdi's Requiem in German-language countries, 1875–1901; Appendix 2. Successful Verdi revivals in German-language theatres, 1901–51; Select bibliography.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2011 - Winner
Lewis Lockwood Award, American Musicological Society 2011 - Winner
Gaddis Smith International Book Prize, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University 2012 - Winner
'Verdi and the Germans boldly explores new directions in the study of nationalism and music. Instead of focusing on the 'German-ness' of German composers, as has been done thus far, it looks at how Germans reacted to the most prominent non-German composer of the nineteenth century, Giuseppe Verdi. This long and fascinating story, told by Gundula Kreuzer with immense erudition and sharp insight, is well worth reading not only for musicologists, but also for cultural and social historians, as well as anybody interested in the tentacular hold of nationalism over minds, hearts and ears.' Emanuele Senici, University of Rome
'Gundula Kreuzer has addressed a theme of capital importance in this book: the role of foreign cultures in creating a nation's self image. She could hardly have chosen a more appropriate reception study to interrogate this theme. In the course of her absorbing, and engagingly written, book she sheds light on Verdi and on German culture alike, and with an historical sweep which takes us to the Third Reich and beyond. Based on a careful trawl of journals and newspapers (the weight of research collapsed into her footnotes is truly impressive), Verdi and the Germans is scholarship of the very highest quality.' Jim Samson, Royal Holloway, University of London
'Draws upon a wide and impressive range of documentary sources.' Opera
'Kreuzer shows a courageous willingness to confront some uncomfortable truths. Her engrossing book is a vivid illustration of how music can be used in the service of politics and a warning that we ignore the significance of the arts at our peril.' Music and Letters